Some games, you just know what the outcome is going to be. You can feel it when the game starts, you can feel it as it moves through the middle innings and the ending just feels inevitable. Tonight was one of those games.
In the first, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead when Rhys Hoskins walked and Bryce Harper doubled him to third, bringing J.T. Realmuto to the plate. Realmuto proceeded to get a sacrifice fly, which was followed by a groundball out by Didi Gregorius that kind of snuffed out a big inning, but still, a 1-0 lead after the top of the first is a great thing. Unfortunately, that lead didn’t last long. Zach Eflin was on the hill today and allowed a one out single to Dylan Carlson in the bottom half of the frame. After Eflin got Paul Goldschmidt looking, Nolan Arenado came up and “doubled” to left, bringing in Carlson and tying the game at one. We say “doubled” because, well, you be the judge.
Guess it doesn’t matter much who you put in the field, the defense for the Phillies is still pretty bad.
In the second, the Cardinals got two runners on with two outs thanks to singles from Justin Williams and Andrew Knizner. Tommy Edman stepped up and delivered for the Cardinals, knocking in two and making the score 3-1.
It was pretty evident through the early part of the game that Eflin didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled pretty hard for the rest of his outing. The Phillies would get another run in the fourth when the Cardinals suddenly forgot that defense was still a thing. Realmuto reached on an error by Williams, making it to second base, then went to third when starter Carlos Martinez tried a pickoff move and ended up with an error that sent Realmuto ninety feet closer to scoring. Gregorius grounded out again, but this one was a little more productive since it scored Realmuto and made it 3-2, St. Louis.
The defensive play of the game came from Arenado, who did this incredible thing.
That’s just incredible. Getting to watch a superb glove like Arenado or Matt Chapman on a nightly basis at third base has to be a treat. The Phillies have had some decent men manning the hot corner in recent years like Pedro Feliz and Placido Polanco, but they aren’t on the same level as Arenado when it comes to the athleticism that he shows almost daily.
It was Martinez, though, who was the story of the night. He was excellent, shutting down the Phillies offense for his the majority of his evening. Once Gregorius was induced into that RBI groundout in the fourth inning, he retired 12 Phillies hitters in a row. He did it with relative ease too, only really being threatened when Alec Bohm hit some rockets right at people. Other than that, no one really touched him. The issue for St. Louis was that, once Eflin settled in a bit, he was almost equally as unhittable. He had a streak of ten in a row retired, but had to leave in the seventh inning when he allowed men on the corners with two out, bringing up Paul Goldschmidt to face Sam Coonrod. As well as Coonrod has pitched this season, you and I both knew how that at bat was going to go. A close, one run game turned into a three run lead for the Cardinals as Goldschmidt doubled home both runners as the game moved into the eighth inning with St. Louis on top, 5-2.
They would lose Martinez once he allowed a baserunner, but Giovanny Gallegos would induce a double play to end any threat for the Phillies. Jose Alvarado made his first appearance since entering the Covid protocol and flashed a pretty normal Alvarado outing: lots of heat, a few baserunners but ultimately, no damage.
The ninth inning started with the Phillies sending up their three hottest hitters in Hoskins, Harper and Realmuto to face Alex Reyes, but the trio could only muster a single from Harper before going down to end the game.